Plans for proposed community center taking shape

By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

Images courtesy of YMCA of Central Ohio Based on community feedback so far, YMCA of Central Ohio has compiled these renderings of what a YMCA in Reynoldsburg could look like. Brian Kridler, chief operating officer, says these renderings will evolve over time based on further feedback on amenities, costs and other features residents want.
Images courtesy of YMCA of Central Ohio
Based on community feedback so far, YMCA of Central Ohio has compiled these renderings of what a YMCA in Reynoldsburg could look like. Brian Kridler, chief operating officer, says these renderings will evolve over time based on further feedback on amenities, costs and other features residents want.

The city of Reynoldsburg is now the owner of the property where the Reynoldsburg Swim Club once stood and where a new community center could stand in the future.

The city purchased the nearly 11.6 acres this month for $771,000, said Dan Havener, development director with the city of Reynoldsburg. The property runs south of the PNC Bank and post office properties on East Main Street, south to the tree line immediately north of the senior center parking lot, and from Blacklick Creek to the Huber Park subdivision just west of Davidson Drive.

YMCA of Central Ohio and the city have been in talks to build a new community center on the property, and YMCA officials are continuing to seek feedback from Reynoldsburg residents.

In April, the city held a public meeting to gauge residents’ first floorinterest in constructing a YMCA in Reynoldsburg, with the old pool property being the likely location. The city will hold another town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Reynoldsburg High School Livingston campus.

“It is the intent of the city to hold subsequent bi-monthly meetings, with meetings to be scheduled for November, January, March, etc.,” Havener said.

In the meantime, as feedback continues to come in concerning amenities, programs and other features residents would like to see in a new YMCA facility, Brian Kridler, chief operating officer for YMCA of Central Ohio, has begun sharing preliminary designs of the proposed facility.

“We’re at this point where we are gathering feedback from community members in terms of their reactions,” he said. “Once we have those reactions, we will take a look at what was said.”

An earlier independent survey conducted by an outside firm revealed what features residents want in a potential center, with aquatics taking the top spot, followed by an indoor walking/running track, multiple exercise studios, a state-of-the-art fitness/cardio center, a teen center and a social area with healthy snacks. Many residents also have expressed interest in having either an outdoor pool or splash pad.

As more feedback comes in, the renderings will continue to evolve, Kridler said.

second floor“What we’ll do is do some financial modeling of the building based upon our anticipation of what the operational costs will be of a 30,000- versus 40,000- versus 60,000-square-foot building that does or does not have an outdoor water park so we can then have some strategic conversations with the city,” he said. “We have a feeling of how many memberships we can sell, and we can bounce those up against the cost of the building, along with what revenue will come in.”

In April, Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud said, in order to help fund the construction of the center, the city is looking at the possibility of a 1-percent income tax increase, with the goal of putting the measure on the ballot in May 2017.

If passed, a grand opening approximately 18 months later – or fall of 2018 – would be the approximate timeline, Kridler said.

Projections of how much a center would cost vary depending on the amenities offered, but similar centers in central Ohio communities have cost between $12 million and $18 million.

As the YMCA has expanded throughout central Ohio, communities have differed in how their centers are funded. Some have purchased the land, but have allowed the YMCA to run and absorb the costs of operating the facility, which does so through revenue streams such as membership dues, private dollars and corporate philanthropy.

Kridler said the goal is to balance the costs of membership fees and construction with providing residents with the amenities they desire.

“There’s a whole host of strategic steps that will take place between now and when we say to the public here’s what your tax dollars will build, here’s what it will cost and here’s what you will get for what you pay,” he said.

In the coming months, Kridler is also planning several focus groups with certain segments of the population, from parents of young children or teenagers, to parents of children with special needs, adults without children and retirees. More information about these focus groups, as well as an online survey currently open to the public, is on the Proposed Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA Facebook page.

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